Jehu’s son takes the throne. He also led the people to the idols that Jeroboam set up. But he turned to God near his end.
I wanted to see what event prompted his turning to God but we don’t have the chronicles of the kings of Israel so I wasn’t able to find any specifics. What we do know is that his kingdom was being systematically reduced by Hazael, king of Syria. Not because Hazael was such a strong warrior but because the people were so far away from God. He was trying to get their attention and turn them back around. It worked with Jehoahaz.
The army of Jehoahaz was in dismal shape by the time he cried out to the Lord. “For there was not left to Jehoahaz an army of more than fifty horsemen and ten chariots and ten thousand footmen” (verse 7a). When you can count the number of vehicles in your army on your hands you KNOW you are in trouble. Originally Israel didn’t even use chariots but now they are reliant upon them. And the number of foot soldiers is less that one tribe’s worth during Moses’ time.
I have a feeling that the health of Israel’s army mirrored the health of their kingdom. I say this because all men were called to duty in times of trouble. If Jehoahaz couldn’t muster more than 10,000 fit soldiers then the rest of the people were either dead, too young, or infirm. The whole nation was oppressed by Syria.
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“Enough!” cries Jehoahaz. “I have done all I can for the people. I have stood strong in the fight. But no matter what I try I can’t win. My people are being crushed under the weight of the king’s foot. There is not a home in Israel that is not suffering. And they look to ME, their king for deliverance!”
Tears stream down the face of Jehoahaz as he confesses the absolute truth. “But I can’t save them. Only the Lord can. The God who parted the Red sea. The God who fed His children in the wilderness with the bread of Heaven. The God who tore down the walls of Jericho with a shout. The God who drove out the Philistines through the hand of David. The God who, even now, hears when I cry.” Jehoahaz tears his robe and falls flat on his face on the ground. “We sinned against You O Lord. Your people have turned their backs on You. Forgive us Lord God and restore us. Hear our cry O Lord! Answer us in my time of distress.”
Jehoahaz lies prostrate a while longer on the floor. His heart is still convicting him. He has confessed the sin of the nation but not bared his own sin to the Lord. HE was the one chosen to lead God’s people. HE was the one charged with ensuring that they follow after Him by presenting the example.
Another level of Jehoahaz’s heart peels back as he sees his own need of repentance. “Forgive ME O Lord for turning away from You. Forgive me for calling the people to follow me on that path. I don’t know how to get back from here.”
“YOU can’t get back from here. But I can bring you back. I will send you a savior. He will rescue this people. He will deliver My people from this distress. But you must walk where he leads. You must put the people in his hands. You are not enough on your own. But fear not for I am with you.”
“Lead me Lord in the way I should walk. I will do my best to walk where You direct me to. Help me see my salvation and not fight against is.”
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Jehoahaz and the people received a temporary savior. Whoever he was he helped free them from their present trouble but he did nothing to prevent what they would face later. He wasn’t able to affect their ultimate end. That would require a much greater Savior.
God could have told them it was too little too late. He could told them to hang in there a while longer. He could even have jerked away their rescue when they didn’t follow through with abandoning their idols. But he did none of these things. What He did was love them beyond reason and reach down into their lives to bring a measure of relief. NO. It was not sunshine and roses after that. The people still held to their false gods while trying to hold onto Him with the other hand. They would continue to pay for their sins. They would be conquered. Not because God wasn’t big enough to finish the job but because they still wouldn’t give themselves to Him fully.
God offers us a permanent Savior. He gave us Jesus Christ, His Son. His salvation doesn’t guarantee us sunshine and roses here on earth. What He does promise is that He will walk with us, no matter how hard the climb is. He promises to provide rest for our weary souls. He tells us that He will sustain us in every situation. And that our ultimate rest will be with Him for all eternity.
These promises are for ANY who will put their trust in Him and His plan of salvation. As Jehoahaz realized, we CANNOT do it ourselves! Only through Jesus do we have hope for tomorrow, no matter what comes. And you CANNOT hold onto two hands when it comes to God. You either choose Him or you choose the world’s false gods. They die right beside you. There is no life in them. The ONLY hope and life lie in Jesus. He is the ONLY way to salvation.
Father God, thank You for hearing my prayers; even when I’m far from where I should be. Thank You for sending Jesus; for making a way of salvation for me. I cannot begin to fathom the state of this world without You. The nations are going to experience that in the not too distant future. I pray for those who will seek Your salvation then. I wonder what it will take to get their attention.